In order to qualify for life insurance, you will have to go through a health underwriting process.
Typically, the companies that offer the lowest rates will require a medical exam and possibly even a blood/urine test.
For most companies, the tests they require are based on the applicant’s age and the amount of coverage requested.
Certainly, not everyone is happy with life insurance medical exams, in fact, there’s a large part of the population that simply refuse to have one.
Even if it could result in lower insurance costs.
We have discovered over time that there are various reasons why an applicant prefers not to have a medical exam.
Here is a list of the top five:
You may, however, qualify for life insurance with no medical exam through some of the companies we offer.
There are a few different ways that companies will underwrite you on a non medical basis.
We will discuss three of these here, non medical underwriting, accelerated underwriting, and guaranteed acceptance.
Ready to get started on a non medical life insurance quote?
Table of Contents
3 Types of No Medical Exam Life Insurance
First, there is a true non-medical underwriting process (or simplified issue) where you will not have to take a medical exam under any circumstance.
These policies are usually limited in face amount starting at $25,000 and stopping at $500,000. The rate will be higher than if you were to choose a fully underwritten policy.
Second there is an accelerated underwriting process were you can qualify for as much as $2,000,000 of life insurance with no medical exam.
The accelerated underwriting process is reserved for very healthy individuals. This is a streamlined process where policies are issued much quicker than traditional methods.
They are typically done through a telephone interview.
This new approach to life insurance underwriting may use LexisNexis, pharmacy checks, medical information database checks, motor vehicle reports and credit checks to underwrite your life insurance policy.
If you are healthy, you may be approved with super preferred rates in as little as 24 hours.
Some of the things that will disqualify you from accelerated underwriting are certain prescriptions, bad driving records, and tobacco use. Unfortunately, if you chew tobacco or smoke cigars or smoke cigarettes, you will be kicked out of the life insurance with no medical exam process and have to complete a medical exam.
The third type of policy… Now you may be unable to qualify for life insurance due to some health issues.
If this is the case, you may be forced to purchase a no medical exam policy and will have a waiting period before the policy will pay the full death benefit for natural causes. That waiting period could play a significant role in your life insurance coverage.
These no medical exam policies are typically a whole life policy and limit the death benefit to $25,000.
You may hear them referred to as graded benefit, guarantee issue or guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies.
These policies have strings attached that dictate how the death benefit will be paid to your beneficiary.
Most have a 2 year waiting period but if you were to die before the 2 years, your premium plus interest would be paid to your beneficiary.
There is certainly nothing wrong with placing “conditions” on an insurance payout (everybody does it) but your agent or the company must disclose these conditions to you BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.
Keep reading to learn about life insurance with no medical exam and no waiting period.
What is a Waiting Period on a Life Insurance Policy?
Although most applicants don’t realize it, there is a waiting period that comes along with many life insurance plans, especially if there is no medical exam required.
These guaranteed issue plans are usually purchased from companies like Colonial Penn, Globe Life, AIG, and Gerber Life and have a two-year waiting period that starts the day that the plan becomes active.
During the waiting period, your beneficiary (usually your family) wouldn’t receive the full payout from the policy. Instead, they would likely get a return of the premiums paid, but not the face value of the coverage.
Here is an example of how Mutual of Omaha handles the waiting period and modified death benefit:
Level Benefit vs. Guaranteed Issue
A level benefit insurance policy will pay the full death benefit beginning the day it is issued whether death is the result of natural causes or an accident (excluding suicide).
These are traditional life insurance plans and yes, you can buy them without having to have a medical exam.
Even though a medical exam may not be required for a level benefit insurance policy, there are many health and lifestyle questions on the application.
If your answers to these questions indicate that you would be an unacceptable medical risk, your application could be declined.
A guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance insurance policy will have a waiting period of typically 2 or 3 years when they will pay a modified death benefit if your death is due to natural causes.
The modified benefit usually amounts to the entire premium you have paid on the policy plus an additional percentage (usually 10%). This means if you were to die because of a heart attack, your insurer would pay the beneficiary 110% of the premiums you’ve paid on your life insurance policy
It’s important to note, however, that most of the insurers offering guaranteed issue insurance policies will pay the full death benefit from the first day if death is the result of an accident.
Advantages of a No Medical Exam Policy
It’s important that you understand all of the benefits and drawbacks of each kind of life insurance plan. No medical exam life insurance policies are a unique type of life insurance coverage because there is no exam requirement.
We already mentioned the two-year waiting period that comes along with many no medical exam plans.
These policies are a last resort if you cannot qualify for a first-day coverage policy.
While more than likely, you won’t pass away in the first two years of the policy, it’s important that you understand the waiting period and how it could impact your family.
Not every no medical exam policy is going to have one of these waiting periods, there are many companies that don’t restrict the coverage, and if you qualify, you’ll likely pay a lot less for coverage, but you will pay more than you would for a fully-underwritten (medical exam required) policy would cost.
The purpose of a medical exam is to give the insurance company an idea of what your overall health is, but without that exam, the insurance company is taking a significant risk to accept you for life insurance coverage.
One of the most problematic characteristics of no exam plans is the limited amount of life insurance coverage available.
With a no exam plan, the carrier will not allow you to buy as much as you can with a fully underwritten policy.
As mentioned earlier, coverage is usually capped around $250,000 to $500,000.
After you’ve done the math, you’ll very likely find this won’t be nearly enough, especially if you are a young adult with a mortgage and other debts.
Probably, the biggest advantage to these policies is that you can be approved for coverage much quicker than you can with a traditional policy.
With a no medical exam policy you can get life insurance coverage as quickly as a couple of days.
If you get a traditional policy that requires a medical exam, you could wait several weeks or sometimes even months before your insurance policy is approved and issued.
No Medical Exam Doesn’t Mean No Underwriting
We want to be clear about medical underwriting so you are not surprised by your life insurance underwriting when you apply for coverage.
Even though the insurer does not require a medical exam, there are some underwriting methods that help them get a picture of your health risk:
MIB Medical Information Bureau
- MIB Report – Your insurance company will typically order the MIB (Medical Information Bureau) report as soon as they receive your signed application. They get permission to receive this report when you sign your application. Don’t get nervous here. The MIB is a national database owned by member insurance companies so they can share underwriting information about their applicants. This database does not contain your all your medical records, rather it contains information you provided to an insurer or information they gathered during the underwriting process. This information is not available to any insurer unless they are a member company of MIB. If you choose to dispute any information in your file, there is a simple process to have it corrected.
Script Checks or Pharmaceutical Background Checks
- ScriptCheck® – The ScriptCheck report is provided by Exam One which is owned by Quest Diagnostics. This report provides your underwriter information about medications you may be taking now and in the past. This report also provides your underwriter with a clearer picture of your current health.
Motor Vehicle Reports
- MVR Report – Most underwriters will also order a motor vehicle report for the previous five years. This gives them information about your lifestyle and driving habits.
The Insurance Application part 2 (Health Questions)
- Insurance Application – Although insurance companies have different life insurance applications, all of them have questions about your health, your family members’ health, your lifestyle and hobbies, and your occupation.
How Much Insurance Should I Buy?
This is the most important question that you could ask your agent or broker. The amount of insurance you buy should always be based on what you intend to use it for. In other words, what are you trying to financially protect? Believe it or not, when you buy your insurance also has an effect on how much you buy.
For example, a young married man who has a mortgage, two car payments, and three young children, is going to need a lot more life insurance than a 65-year old retiree who lives in a paid for home and has minimal debt.
It wasn’t all that long ago when an agent always recommended buying at least ten times your salary in life insurance.
Even the Dave Ramsey Life Insurance school of thought says that you should purchase 10 times your income in term life insurance.
To put it mildly; that is complete nonsense because in most cases their clients (the few they might have) are either under-insured or over-insured. It is very rare for one insurance applicant to have identical financial needs than another, so why would put them in a cookie-cutter insurance policy?
Consider the following when trying to understand how much life insurance you need:
What’s the Difference in Underwriting Guidelines?
Like many other industries, life insurance companies share certain terms that may be confusing to applicants and insureds.
When we discuss underwriting guidelines there are some basic terms to understand because they designate what your underwriting process will consist of and how long the carrier may take to issue your policy.
- Accelerated Underwriting – Accelerated underwriting refers to an automated underwriting process (system) that eliminates the need for an in-person interview, tele-interview, medical exam, or attending physician statement (APS). Accelerated underwriting relies on a robust rules engine while using predictive tools and databases that enable the insurer to issue an underwriting decision in minutes.
- Simplified Issue – Simplified issue (simplified underwriting) is another name for no medical exam. This form of underwriting leaves a paramedical exam and blood/urine tests out of the underwriting process. Instead, the applicant answers a health questionnaire that is part of the insurance application and then the company generally orders database reports from the Medical Information Bureau and Prescription databases. This type of process is also referred to as express underwriting.
- No Medical Exam Underwriting – This includes simplified issue and accelerated underwriting.
- Guaranteed Issue – When an applicant’s health conditions disqualify them from purchasing insurance traditional health insurance, many companies offer “guaranteed issue” underwriting where the company will not consider medical underwriting as part of issuing an insurance policy. Basically, any person who is alive and within the age requirements will be issued life insurance. Typically waiting periods will apply for death due to natural causes.
Life Insurance Companies that Offer No Medical Exam Term Insurance
Practically every life insurance company offers some form of no medical exam life insurance. What differentiates them other than their rates is the limits they provide on the coverage (death benefit) of their policies.
Below, we have listed 10 highly-rated life insurance companies along with their no medical exam policy limits:
Americo offers a no medical exam policy that is handled electronically between the carrier and the agent of record.
Their simplified issue term product offers face amounts of $25,000 to $250,000 for no medical exam policies and $250,001 to $400,000 when the agent collects a saliva sample with a prescription drug history.
Ameritas offers no medical exam life insurance with limits based on the age and rate class of the applicant. Policy limits are based on the underwriting class established by the insurer:
|Band||Face Amount||Underwriting Class|
|Band 1||$50,000 – $99,000||Standard & Rapid Standard|
|Band 2||$100,000 – $300,000||Preferred Non-Tobacco (NT), Standard and Rapid Standard|
|Band 3||$300,001 – $999,999||Preferred Plus NT, Preferred NT, Select NT, Standard NT, Preferred Tobacco, Standard Tobacco|
|Band 4||$1 million +||Preferred Plus NT, Preferred NT, Select NT, Standard NT, Preferred Tobacco, Standard Tobacco|
American National offers to no medical exam insurance products for individuals; Xpress and Xpress Plus.
Xpress Underwriting: Issue ages are 0 – 65 with face amounts up to $250,000. – No exam required for life insurance.
Xpress Plus Underwriting: Issue ages are 0 – 60 with face amounts up to $1 million for applicants 0 – 50 and up to $500,000 for applicants age 51 -60. No automatic medical exam required for life insurance.
Foresters Financial offers a no medical exam term insurance policy based on the applicant’s age and rate class. Issue ages with face amounts are 18 – 55 up to $400,000 and 56+ with face amounts up to $150,000. Foresters’ term insurance plans come with 3 built-in riders and the company offers 5 optional riders with an additional premium.
American Amicable life insurance company offers true no medical exam life insurance for applicants from age 0-85.
- Whole life ages 0-85 with no exam
- Universal life ages 0-80 with no exam
- Term Life insurance ages 18-75 with no exam
In addition to being a true no exam insurance company, American Amicable has many riders that can be used to customize your life insurance policy.
Lincoln Financial offers term life insurance using three underwriting methods.
No medical exam and no lab tests: This product is available to applicants age 18 – 60 with face amounts of $1 million or less. The applicants must have no medical conditions, must be within the height and weight limits, must not use tobacco products and must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
There are certain conditions and circumstances that will trigger the need for labs and vitals that have to do with lifestyle, financial history, and dangerous hobbies.
Full underwriting ( medical exam) will be required for certain serious medical conditions.
Mutual of Omaha offers term life insurance on a simplified underwriting basis which means they do not require a medical exam, blood draw, saliva sample, or urine sample.
Issue ages for applicants are 18 -50 with face amounts from $25,000 to $300,000. Applicants between age 51 and 65 can purchase coverage from $25,000 to $250,000.
Mutual of Omaha also offers a Universal Life product that is guaranteed for life which is also a no medical exam policy.
Applicants age 18 – 65 can purchase face amounts from $25,000 to $99,999. Applicants age 18 – 50 can purchase face amounts of $100,000 to $300,000 and 51 – 65 can purchase face amounts of $100,000 to $250,000.
North American Life uses their WriteAway Underwriting which is similar to Accelerated Underwriting and eliminates the need for a medical exam and blood/urine testing. The underwriters retrieve substantial applicant information using LexisNexis, one of the largest providers of public records with about 36 billion public records from over 20,000 data sources.
The WriteAway program is available for 10, 15, 20 and 30 year term as well as the guarantee universal life (GUL) policies and the Indexed universal life insurance (IUL) policies. The face amount limit is $1,000,000 so this makes North American one of our favorites as a life insurance with no medical exam company.
North American also has a program called LifeView and offers no medical exam Term Life Insurance to applicants age 18 to 50 with face amounts of $50,000 to $500,000. This is only issued through qualified call centers with experienced life insurance agents specializing in no medical exam life insurance.
Protective life refers to this product as PLUS which stands for Protective Life Underwriting Solution. This type of underwriting starts with the electronic application then telephone interview, electronic signature and then a quick decision by the underwriter. We have found protective to be one of the best life insurance companies for the non med underwriting process.
Issue ages and face amounts for applicants are:
- Age 18 – 45 $100,000 to $1,000,000
- Age 46 – 60 $100,000 to $500,000
Sagicor uses a proprietary process of underwriting called Accelewriting®. This process eliminates the need for face-to-face interviews with an applicant and instead uses predictive analytic tools and databases that allows the underwriter to make a decision with minutes. Using the Accelewriting process allows the insurer to offer coverage amounts up to $1,000,000.
Transamerica’s Trendsetter Series offers two term programs with accelerated underwriting that are referred to as TOP and TOP Plus.
Rate Comparison for No Medical Exam Term Insurance
Although your actual insurance rates will always depend on your age, health class, and the coverage amount, we are providing actual quotes from four top-rated carriers to help you get an idea of how each company can differ in the rates they offer.These rates are based on a $250,000 – 20-year term policy for a male non-smoker with a “preferred” rating.
|Age of Applicant||SBLI||Lincoln Financial||Sagicor||Mutual of Omaha|
Although these are not the only options available, we find that they get the job done for the majority of our non medical underwriting life insurance policies. We do update this list as we see better life insurance options come available.